The Crab Cake Experiment

What to do with leftover crab… experiment with crab cakes, of course!  With no deeply held personal opinions about crab cakes I started with my obligatory research. Kenji Lopez at The Food lab stresses the importance of using quality crabmeat here, and has a richly detailed article with his experimentation and findings.  He uses oyster crackers or saltines as the binder, freezes the meat, and then creates mini molds for each cake out of tinfoil. Bon Appetit uses biscuit cutters to shape each cake and also showcases some mouth watering spice blends to flavor both the cakes and sauces here.  

For my own meal I decided to use this recipe as my guide as it was a straightforward process  similar to my fish cakes, which I know I can easily prepare on a weeknight. Mix the meat with some ‘glue’ (an egg), some fat (mayo), some tang (mustard), a binder (panko), and other veggies and spices as desired. I used the recipe as a guide, making slight adjustments until the final mixture felt somewhat sturdy when forming the patties.  

The final crab cakes had a nice fish flavor but were not fishy. I was careful to use jumbo lump crab meat which I think had an impact here.  They held up well in the fridge overnight and I served them topped with a runny egg for breakfast.  Two meals in one. What’s better than that?



  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/f cup finely dice onion
  • Splash of white wine
  • 10 oz crab meat
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of mayo
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of old bay
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 cup panko


Steps and Notes:

  1. Saute the onion and celery in some oil and a splash of white wine.  Then, add a pinch of salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Let the wine simmer off and turn off the heat after 3-4 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl add the eggs, mayo, mustard, Worcestershire, Old Bay, and parsley. Then add the sauteed onions and carrots and mix well.
  3. Add the crab meat and panko – folding gently
    • Note: The original recipe says to check for hard pieces of cartilage. I didn’t notice this, but adding the note just in case.
  4. Make 6 palm sized patties.
  5. Set the cakes by placing in the freezer for 20 minutes
    • Note: the original recipe said to put in the fridge for 1 hour, but I was feeling impatient and this worked fine.
  6. In a hot skillet add a light layer of oil then saute the crab cakes for about 5 minutes per side. Cover if necessary to ensure cakes are fully cooked through.
  7. I served this with sriracha mayo


Thoughts for Next Time:

  • Make a homemade tartar sauce for dipping
  • The Food Lab also suggests using oyster crackers or crushed saltines instead of panko
  • Use fresh parsley and top with chives
  • Make a variation with leeks and corn



  1. I’m all for having a runny egg on a crab cake in the morning! These look delish.


  2. […] and posting over 140 recipes I’ve only made fish FOUR times. A grilled salmon, an experimental crab cake, lemon parsley fish cakes, and an acqua […]


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